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Drinking Water

NEW FEDERAL LEAD-FREE LEGISLATION ON THE WAY MAKES THE CASE FOR CONVERTING TO PLASTIC FITTINGS

March 28, 2011
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Fairfield, NJ, Match 28, 2011 – “As California goes”, is the saying, “so goes the rest of the country.” The Golden State being a bellwether has proven true once more with its 2006 lead-free law, commonly referred to as AB 1953. Just days after the new year started, President Obama signed into law S.3874, a bipartisan-supported bill that establishes a new federal standard – modeled after the California law which went into effect on January 1, 2010 – to reduce the amount of lead content in new plumbing materials in order to limit exposure to toxic lead in drinking water.

For plumbing materials suppliers like British owned John Guest®, the new legislation is a boon to the company’s prospects in the American water quality marketplace: John Guest plumbing products are made entirely of plastic so the issue of lead-free is an advantage from the start.

The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water legislation, which was sponsored by California legislators in both the House and Senate and supported by the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, mandates that all 50 states limit lead content in solder and flux at 0.2 percent and contain not more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent for the wetted surfaces of pipe, fixtures and fittings. States have 36 months to implement the law. The federal lead-free legislation means all plumbing manufacturers will have to supply materials that have greatly reduced lead content by January 2014.

For those manufacturers who offer brass content materials, a thorough and expensive conversion process will now be required. Most of these manufacturers and importers have already had to convert their products because of lead-free laws not only in California but also in Vermont and Maryland. Many have had to maintain dual inventories due to the restrictions existing in those three states, and the lead-free products they now offer are higher in price.

For suppliers like John Guest USA, however, supplying lead-free products is not an issue and no conversion process is required. John Guest’s product lines – especially the company’s Standard Line of small diameter push-in fittings for water treatment/filtration applications – are made almost exclusively of engineered plastic (polyproylene, nitrile, acetal copolymer and low density polyethylene). The new federal legislation is therefore a welcome development for the company, which already commands a healthy market share due to its quality, ease of use and labor time savings. A nationwide lead-free requirement will make its Standard Line products an even more attractive choice of use for water quality distributors and installers.

“Our Standard Line consists of lead-free or low lead materials so we’re already compliant with S.3874,” states Stan Artman, President of Sales & Marketing for John Guest USA, the parent company’s U.S. distributor. “Standard Line fittings are made of high quality engineered plastic with food-grade EDPM/nitrile O-rings. They’re non-corrosive and reusable.”

John Guest’s standard Line of push-in fittings, valves and tubing employ a patented collet and an O-ring to securely grip pipe, be it copper, PEX or CPVC. They are used in a wide range of water quality applications – water purification/filtration, reverse osmosis, ice making machines, beverage dispensing, vending & OCS.

“We are confident that with this new federal mandate coming down the road in just a few years, water quality distributors and installers will move to take advantage of using a product like Standard Line, one which provides their customers peace of mind when it comes to ensuring water quality,” Artman added. “Plus, the cost of converting existing brass to lead free versions will make our competitors’ products more expensive. Taking safety, cost and ease of use into consideration, the smart move will be to make the transition to using plastic.”

About John Guest® USA

John Guest USA, located in Fairfield, NJ, distributes products for the plumbing-heating, water treatment and automotive industries across North, Central and South America, the Caribbean and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Speedfit® Push-Fit Fittings and John Guest’s Standard Line of Push-In Fittings are manufactured in Great Britain by John Guest Ltd. of Middlesex, England, a BS EN ISO9001 certified facility. The company operates multiple locations worldwide. www.johnguest.com

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